We’re going to start our more in-depth look at the DSL Blue Jays by looking at starting pitchers. At the Rookie ball level, the distinctions between starting pitchers and relief pitchers are frequently fluid so we’re going to include anyone who made more than 50% of his appearances as a starter. We begin with the pitchers who made the most starts and work our way downwards from there. With the DSL club, there isn’t much to go on scouting-wise, so we’ll basically be looking at the players’ stats to help get an idea of what might be going on. If a player played for more than one team over the course of the season, he’ll be grouped according to the club he played the most with.
Our DSL Blue Jays Pitcher of the Year, Nathanael Perez, was tied for the club lead in starts with 13. At 19 years old, the Dominican righty, had an outstanding 1.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over 57 innings, striking out 23.9% and walking 3.0%. Perez led the club in innings pitched, strikeouts and, most impressively, walks per nine innings at 1.1 BB/9. The only other pitcher with fewer walks per nine was Luis Pena who threw just 4 2/3 innings. Perez also just gave up one home run all year, but home runs are generally at a low level in the DSL. Look for Perez in the GCL next year although if the club believes in his advanced control and command, he could being the season in Bluefield.
17 year old Naswell Paulino also had a tremendous debut for the GCL Blue Jays. The 5-foot-11 Dominican lefty tied for the team lead in starts at 13 and had a 2.26 ERA and 1.10 WHIP while striking out 23.1% and walking 8.0%. While his strikeout rate almost matched Perez’s, his higher walk rate makes a huge difference in the effectiveness he had this season. Being two years younger than Perez, Paulino will likely start the 2018 season in the GCL.
Helping to fill out the DSL Blue Jays’ starting rotation was Emanuel Vizcaino, a 6-foot-5 Dominican righty. Vizcaino just turned 18 at the end of August so he’s another one of these very young pitchers who turned in a stellar performance in 2017. Vizcaino had a 2.06 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, striking out 18.5% of batters and walking 8.7% in 48 innings with 11 of his 14 appearances coming as a starter. He’s another one to look for in the GCL next year.
Rafael Monsion, another tall (6-foot-3) pitcher who just turned 18 in August, actually made the jump to the GCL midseason. Monsion, a Venezuelan lefty, started in 10 of his 13 appearances for the DSL Blue Jays, tossing 43 innings with a 2.30 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, striking out 19.3% and walking 9.1%. Monsion also got three innings in relief with the GCL Blue Jays, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks with one strikeout. Look for him to return either to the GCL or move up to Bluefield in his Age-18 season next year.
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